In this debut thriller, a relationship between a billionaire and an alluring, younger woman is consumed by jealousy, sexual obsession, and murder.
Angelica Mercedes desires the finer things in life, and her wealthy parents indulge her every whim—at least, at first. Her intelligence earns her a spot at a prestigious university, where she graduates with honors, but then her father ends his financial support. Angelica takes a job at a strip club, where she meets Hyde Hyatt, a billionaire who’s more than twice her age. They embark on a passionate affair and eventually marry, settling in the town of Full Moon Bay in Northern California and purchasing a beautiful waterfront home. However, two weeks after they move in, the wife of the previous homeowner is found dead, washed up on the beach. About the same time, Hyde’s 23-year-old daughter, Daphne, moves in with the couple. A strange dynamic develops between Hyde, Angelica, and Daphne, fueled, in part, by jealousy; Angelica, who refers to Hyde as “Daddy,” resents his bond with Daphne. As tensions mount, additional murders rattle the community, and the trail of evidence points toward Angelica. Her husband and stepdaughter know that she’s cunning and manipulative, but is she a serial killer? Phelan’s psychological thriller is a flashy, fast-paced tale of eroticism and murder. The author, who also works as a screenwriter, shows a strong sense of pacing; the novel begins with a shocking act of violence and from there, Phelan keeps the momentum going, unspooling a dark, complicated story. She uses a variety of first-person interlocutors to tell it, including Daphne; Hyde’s former wife, Lisa; and Daphne’s fiance, Ken, as well as Angelica and Hyde themselves. An omniscient third-person narrator provides valuable details and context regarding Angelica’s troubled childhood. However, the novel could have used a stronger copy edit to avoid distracting errors, such as “Lu-Lu Lemon” instead of “Lululemon” and “SPEACHLESS” instead of “SPEECHLESS.”
A racy pleasure that offers shocking twists and turns.